Search engines are a sourcers best friend, but how do you know when to use what search engine and what type of search to perform? A search will pull up almost anything you ask it to do as long as you know how to ask the right questions. The key to a successful search query is knowing what’s available and knowing exactly what you want without having to pour over pages and pages of useless results. Using search engines to find your ideal candidate will help cut out all of the noise by using them correctly.
Using search engines to find your ideal candidate
Not all searches or search engines are made equal. Understanding the fundamentals of search engines and when to use which one is critical when it comes to finding candidates in the most efficient way possible.
Understanding the power of a Google Search
We all probably use this search engine several times a day, but do you know how to leverage a search to pinpoint what you’re looking for? There are two popular types of search strings that most sourcers are using when it comes to using Google. Both Boolean and X-ray searches will give you a boost in your searching endeavors.
Boolean involves using terms like AND OR NOT in your Google search to limit or broaden what you’re looking for. So, searching for “copy editors” -jobs -Nashville would exclude the term jobs and the results of candidates who live in Nashville, while (“copy editors” OR writers) would give you candidates with editing skills as well as those who may only have writing skills.
Check out some helpful hints from Google:
Search social media
@ in front of a word to search social media. For example:
Search for a price
$ in front of a number. For example:
# in front of a word. For example:
Exclude words from your search
- in front of a word you want to leave out. For example,
jaguar speed -car
Search for an exact match
Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example,
Search for wildcards or unknown words
* in your word or phrase where you want to leave a placeholder. For example,
"largest * in the world".
Search within a range of numbers
.. between two numbers. For example,
OR” between each search query. For example,
marathon OR race.
Search for a specific site
site:” in front of a site or domain. For example,
Search for related sites
related:” in front of a web address you already know. For example,
X-ray allows you to utilize a more powerful search engine (like Google) to search a website (like LinkedIn) whose search function may not be as thorough. You can give it a Google to see how to format your X-ray search. site:linkedin.com/in
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Another benefit to using Google over other search engines is their ability to provide a custom search engine. If you’re tired of writing out the same string of criteria time and time again, Google has provided this type of search engine that allows you to set up and refine your search in one easy location.
Google may be the most popular choice when choosing a search engine, but it’s important also to give others a chance as well. Results from each of these sources will be displayed differently and can bring up different results that allow you to see what another may have failed to show you. Make sure you check out the Boolean and X-ray functions of whatever search engine you are using as they may need to be formatted differently.
The reason we pick out Bing as a contender is that all of your popular platforms such as Yahoo, Altavista, and MSN all run off Bing’s search engine (Fun Fact circa 2010). There are some nuances to understand when working with Bing that doesn’t necessarily work when it comes to Google. For instance:
inurl: is something that works well in Google, but doesn’t work in Bing search engine because it was deemed as a “mass data mining tool” back in 2007. It’s long since been retired in Bing and never seen again. Instead, you’ll want to use a more friendly search string such as intitle:recruitment. This type of search string is going to look for the letters “recruitment” in either the title a web page. It also works in Google and most other search engines. This allows you to search for specific titles within a certain website using Bing’s search engine.
Take a look at the X-ray Search in Bing (PRO TIP – In Bing, you have to use the parentheses):
DuckDuckGo – The key feature of DuckDuckGo is that it’s a private search engine and doesn’t track your search history, like Google.
Dogpile – Dogpile has been around for decades and is still an excellent metasearch engine that all sourcers should consider.
Yandex – From Russia, with tons of love, this is one of the most popular and widely used search engines in the world!
Search engines are beautiful things. But learning to use them beyond looking up a single term is imperative if you want to remain a productive and efficient sourcer. Let the search engine do the brunt of the work for you, so you can focus on honing in on finding that perfect fit for the job. We know which is your favorite, but humor us anyway, Google or Bing? Go!